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Saturday, June 23, 2012

My daughter.

As parents, we are expected to be responsible for not just our lives but our childrens' too. We are expected to provide a safe, loving, clean haven for them, in which they can grow into well-rounded positive members of society. 

Sometimes, when I've got a to-do list of 70, a screaming baby with a cold, and a curious 4 year old.. things can get a bit too much. This week I've found myself sitting in the bathroom counting to ten taking deep, long breaths more often than usual.

We should always take a step back to appreciate the amazing things we have in our lives. It is something that is always in the back of my mind but today I would like to take the opportunity to talk about my daughter.

Heidi is at a difficult stage, she has now acquired an attribute which seems to be a favourite among teens - attitude. 'No mummy - I don't WANT to!' in the voice of Verucca Salt that grates down my spine. My angelic baby has changed, has grown and I don't like it! I feel myself reminiscing of days where I could stroke her head and she would fall asleep on my chest and when she cried, there were no tears.

She was born on 21st Feb 2008, a slimy bundle of purple joy who would change my life forever. Those first few moments of her life are hazy due to the drugs of labour but I remember the expression on her face as she was placed onto my belly. Those small dark eyes peering at me as if to say - 'You're mine forever', our eyes locked into a gaze, bonding us as mother and daughter for life.

The early days of Heidi's life were a whirlwind of emotions. I remember putting her in her moses basket next to my bed and not daring to fall asleep in case she would disappear. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, changing her nappy and her umbilical cord fell off - I screamed - waking my mum and dad up because I thought I had hurt her, even though she hadn't made a peep.

She was always what was considered to be a 'good' baby. She gained weight steadily, slept from 7pm to 7am with no night-time wakings from 4 weeks, she was always happy, smiling her cheeky little smile that melted the heart of anyone who saw it. She started nursery early (12 weeks) as I had to go back to college to do my GCSEs and even as a young baby the nursery said she was a pleasure to look after. 

She had two different babysitters for when my mother and I had evening classes, and both of them got pregnant a couple of months after looking after Heidi. She was a good advert to have a baby because of how content she was and how well she slept.

She hit her milestones in good time, was crawling before we knew it and took her first steps at the place where I work now funnily enough, with my aunty. She learnt to talk by the age of two, and before we knew it she was talking in sentences and could communicate properly with us. When this happened, I entered a different phase of parenting. Looking after a defenceless newborn baby is VERY different to looking after a walking, talking toddler. And yet she still melted my heart in every way (that never goes away). With every new achievement I felt a sensation of satisfaction that I can only describe as wonder and awe. It really is amazing to watch something that you grew in your stomach for 9 months, grow up themselves. 

When Heidi started the nursery she goes to now, I saw a side to her that hadn't been there before. When we arrive in the mornings a small group of children crowd around her, 'Heidi's here!', I realise that I'm not the only one who thinks my daughter is special. Anyone, no matter how different can be Heidi's friend, she has got the time for anyone who has got the time for her. She hasn't got a nasty bone in her body. When her brother was born we were worried that she might get jealous or pushed out, that she may turn a little nasty which is so common when there is a new addition to the family.. but we worried for nothing.

Heidi has loved her brother from the minute she saw him. From day one she was helping me to feed him, change him, bathe him. She would, and still does sit next to him whenever he's in the room. She often sleeps in the bed next to his cot too, rather than in her own room.

I could go on for ages so I'll stop now, I just wanted to write how proud I am, and how much I appreciate my little girl Heidi. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The cleaning routine

Hi all,
Sam has gone in work this morning to do some overtime, so I've spent most of the morning cleaning.
Cleaning.. Ahh I remember the blissful days when I lived with my parents, and didn't have to lift a finger in the house.. those days were the best.

So now I am mother, I take on the massive responsibility of running our household. Don't laugh, it's no mean feat!
I spend roughly around 14 hours a week just cleaning our house, which is 12 rooms. I'm not the only one who does it, Heidi does a fair share and Sam will do anything if I ask him to. I strongly believe in getting children to help around the house, as I mentioned above, I never had to do anything so when I moved out it was a real slap in the face! I want Heidi to grow up with a good cleaning ethic, so it becomes normal to her and she doesn't see it as a big boring task, but something that has to be done like brushing teeth, having a bath etc..
My cleaning routine goes like this..

I ask Heidi to clean the living room before she goes to nursery, which is taking her toys back to the playroom, putting all of the rubbish in the bin, she polishes our glass table and tidies away Connors things. I then run the hoover around, wipe any marks off anything I can see and then shut the door to the living room for the morning. In the kitchen; I put all of the dishes in soak, I wipe down all the sides and cupboards, sweep the floor, wash the dishes and put them away. After tea at about 7pm, the kitchen gets wiped down again and all the dishes go into the sink. I put a wash on in the morning, hang it out at noon and then fold it all up ready to be put away.

^ That's what gets done everyday, without fail.
I do an upstairs 'big clean' twice a week in all our upstairs rooms. Toilets get bleached and scrubbed three times a week, and bathrooms get cleaned once/twice as it doesn't really get that dirty. Bedsheets are changed every 2 weeks. Every other day I focus on one room and get it completely sparkling.

This routine has taken me 3 years to perfect, I tried making lists, rotas, putting post-it notes up and even a reminder would pop up on my phone but nothing worked, the house still stayed messy no matter how much I tried to keep it clean. It was very stressful! I find now that little and often works best.. I feel like I don't clean that much but the house stays tidy for most of the time.. Although if I do have a day off then everything does seem that little bit grubbier..

Sam is a bit of a clean freak. He can't stand mess and won't sit in a dirty house, he was bought up with chores that has stayed with him into his adult life. I hope our kids do the same!

What's your cleaning routine? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Hate Eating Out

I've just returned home from a restaurant. As it's Friday, Sam and I decided to get out of the house and break out of our normal routine where he sits on the PS3 and I sit on the laptop for most of the night.
As I couldn't take my driving test today, we still don't have a car so we had the choice of three restaurants which were in walking distance (we didn't want to pay for taxis as it makes the whole outing so expensive). We had the choice of a curry house, Wetherspoons, or a local 'bistro'. The day of the week put Wetherspoons out of the situation, it's the only half-decent pub in town so it gets pretty packed on the weekend and we didn't want to go somewhere busy, plus we eat there like 3 times a month and we wanted something different.
We didn't really fancy curry so we opted for the bistro, although we had been twice before and not been impressed. 
It was busy when we got there but we got a table right away, we opted for a 'Tex Mex' combo starter for two, which contained spicy chicken wings, ribs, potato wedges, jalapeño mozzarella cheese sticks and two pieces of garlic bread. The cheese sticks were exactly the same ones that they sell at the local takeaway, and the other items were nondescript; there was no salad or garnish, just some sour cream and a sweet chilli dip. For main I had chicken and mushroom pasta and Sam had lasagne, chips and peas. I was expecting the pasta to have a couple of different types of mushroom at least but it was the basic closed cup range, some chicken chunks in a measly garlicky sauce and a piece of garlic bread. For £10 I was not impressed, it got sickly after a bit and I couldn't finish it. Sam said his meal wasn't worth the long walk to the restaurant. I had a soft drink and the other half had a pint. We didn't order dessert and the bill came to £31.

You see we could of got the same, but better quality and bigger portions from Wetherspoons, for £20. I don't mind spending money if I think its worth it but this was a meal I would rather forget.

We also had to get a babysitter and although we went out at 6:45pm and came back at 8:20pm, we still gave her a tenner as it's not her fault we came back so early.. 

It just annoys me because we could have stayed in, had a takeaway that we both liked and spent £10, in the comfort of our own home (the restaurant had a pretentious atmosphere).

Do you regularly eat out? Do you go to the same place every time or do you like to try new places? Recommend me a good restaurant!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Things about parenting you didn't know would happen...

While baby Connor naps and Heidi is at nursery I thought I would make a list of things that happened to me that I didn't expect after becoming a mother...

  1. LEAKAGES: The first few months after giving birth, every time I coughed, sneezed and don't even get me started on laughing, I seemed to become temporarily incontinent and would have to wear big fat Tena lady adult nappies to stop leakages! This is a lot more common than people would have you know.. Thankfully it went away after a few months though, I felt really attractive in my giant nappy!
  2. LEAKAGES PART II: The first few weeks after giving birth (especially when breastfeeding), your boobs just get the urge to start raining on your t-shirt, breast pads are available but they weren't enough for me once my 'let down' reflex kicked in! (when milk really starts coming out), I had to take a change of top with me when I went out, and used big thick mens socks to stop it from happening when I was out and didn't have Connor with me.
  3. BYE BYE BREASTS: With my first child, my boobs didn't seem to change that much (I didn't breastfeed with my first) apart from they had dropped a little. After breastfeeding for 3 months with Connor they literally deflated. Currently saving for a boob job! 
  4. THE BLACK BELLY LINE: The linea negra, which is common in pregnancy, is supposed to fade after giving birth. With my first child, it was very noticeable but faded almost straight after delivery.. With Connor, 7 months on and I can still see it.
  5. OUCH: The soreness 'down there' for the first few weeks after. I had no stitches myself and the soreness for me was almost unbearable, I dread to think how sore it is with stitches. Going for a wee is like having acid poured on you, especially if you had any scratches or tears (I had some scratches), the soreness lasted about 6 weeks with Heidi, and 4 weeks with Connor. To relieve it, when you go for a wee have a jug of lukewarm water, and tip it on you as you go.. or wait until you're just about to get out of the bath and do it, it really does take the pain away. 
  6. SEX: Now I will be honest, this was one of the most worrying things for me with my second, I didn't want to have a 'bucket'! It turns out I was worrying for nothing, your va-jay-jay is a bit like an elastic band, it snaps back into place. Sex for me hasn't been any different after having children, although I'm sure some women will disagree!
  7. PIERCED NAVAL? Take it out ASAP when pregnant, I kept mine in all throughout and it's stretched terribly, when I was pregnant with Connor it fell out with the ball on, that's how much it stretched! It goes back in now but it hangs and looks really droopy.
  8. SWAP GUCCI FOR GEORGE: In the past 4 years, my clothes have been drooled on, sneezed on, pooed on, peed on, chewed, stretched and covered in various gunk. With a young baby there isn't much point to wearing designer clothes for them to be sicked on, with young children, quantity is better than quality (fear not fashion fiends, after the baby years are finished you can wear them again :)) Primark is good for £2 plain t shirts, they wash okay and they're fine for around the house/nursery run/shopping.
  9. SLEEP: Although it's an obvious one, you do not realise how sleep deprived you will be in the first few months until it hits you. If your partner is like mine and won't 'do mornings' when he's off work, an afternoon nap when baby naps is perfect for catching up on lost sleep.
  10. TOTAL CHAOS IN THE HOME: The first few months are the worst when you're struggling to keep to the golden routine, which is like the bible of motherhood to run a family. So the house may be messier than usual, dishes not done exactly on time - does it really matter so much? Family and friends will understand, I get my friends to help me when they are around at cleaning time! There's more to life than having a shiny floor. Personally, I have got my routine down so I get all my cleaning done in an hour and half each day. 15 minutes per room and stop, have a brew put your feet up and then move on to the next room. If you are stuck at home on maternity leave it helps to break the day up, it doesn't feel like you are cleaning all day but it isn't like you're sat doing nothing either.
Of course, all this is worth it for our precious children... 

Is there anything else you would add to this list? What happened to you that you didn't expect after becoming a parent?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are older mothers better?

Hi all,
I read an article in the Daily Mail yesterday about mothers who choose to wait until after 40 to reproduce. In the article, it said that 'children of mothers over 40 are healthier, more intelligent and less likely to have accidents'.
The full article can be read here: Daily Mail: Children of mothers over 40...

Now I know that the DM is hardly the most accredited newspaper, most of it is tabloid trash but occasionally they do have a few good reads. This article stuck out in my mind because of the last line, and I quote '‘The evidence suggests that when the enormous difficulties of pregnancy and birth are over, they can make better mothers,’ he added.'
I really would like to know where they get their statistics from. Women over 40 make better mothers? How can they even make a statement like that, what makes a better mother? Money, possesions, career status?

I had my children early so this can be a sensitive subject with me, but in my opinion I don't think that waiting until 40 makes you a better parent.  By the time your children would be ready to marry you would be 65, and can you see yourself running the parents race at sports day aged 50?

In no way am I trying to offend older mums here, but for me, a mother who is 40 has NO advantage over me, apart from maybe a mortgage and a more demanding job. I have been through so much in my short time in this world, I probably have more life experience than a lot of 40 year old women.

My parents were a little bit over 30 when I was born, married, ran their own business and we lived in a 4 bedroomed detached farmhouse with 2 acres of land. I had the best clothes and holidays, went to a good school and did lots of extra-curricular activities. I am very close to my parents and my mum is my best friend.

Here are my advantages of being a younger parent to an older one:
  1. When my daughter hits 18, I will only be 32 (35 when my son reaches 18). We we still be able to enjoy the same activities, share the same interests and I will still be young enough to relate to her (and Sam with our son). I can't see a 60 year old and 18 year old sharing many interests or enjoying the same things.
  2. I'll live long enough to see most of the life of my children, watch them get married, have children and hopefully still be around to watch my grandchildren mature into adults.
  3. I'm healthy and active enough to participate in energetic activities with my kids for longer periods of time.
  4. I am interested in fashion, beauty and hair and keep up to date with what's on trend. My daughter will appreciate this when she hits puberty. 
  5. We are young enough to be 'cool' parents. Now that statement seems very immature, but this is actually really important to kids, no one wants to have embarrassing, old-fashioned parents.
  6. I can start my demanding, responsible career in 4 years and put my all into it. Mums who choose careers first often end up quitting after they have their first child. To me that seems a bit backward - why start a great career to throw it all away after 15 years? 
  7. I have never had to give anything up for my children as I never had anything to give up. Older mums have to sacrifice more.
  8. By the time my kids have left home, Sam and I will be able to do the things we always wanted to do, and hopefully by then we will be earning more than ever, so we will have the money to enjoy life.
  9. Pregnancy and birth is on average easier for younger parents. I could fit into my size 6 jeans the day after delivery and both my labours were normal with no stitches.

There are always exceptions to the rule, and in this case there seems to be many exceptions.

Of course it is down to personal choice and circumstances, many mother do not choose to become older mums as such, it just works out like that...

So, in conclusion.. In my experience there is no advantage to being an older mother.

What age do you think is ideal to start a family? To the younger parents - do you wish you had waited before starting? To older parents - do you wish you had started earlier?

All comments are appreciated, I would like to get more of a perspective on this...

Thanks for reading, Kim.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yearly update

Hi everyone,
Sorry for not updating my blog regularly like a good blogger, this past year has been crazy and I've been very busy!
So if I was ringing 'the dole', I would probably have to say my circumstances have changed. I'm now 19, still with my now FIANCÉE (eek!) Sam, Heidi is now 4 and we have an addition to the family, little baby Connor who is now 7 months. I'm still on maternity leave but I go back to work in a few weeks, and I can't wait! It's so boring being at home.
 Little Connor

So as some of you know, I used to ride a scooter which was appalling in winter haha, so I've been having driving lessons for the past year and I've got my test on Friday so wish me luck!
We came back off holiday on Thursday, we went to Alicante, Spain to visit my parents for 10 days and it was great, apart from Heidi getting tonsillitis and prickly heat all over her body for the first week, and me getting bronchitis and heat exhaustion.. but apart from that it was good! Sam and I spent most of our time quad biking through the mountains and just generally relaxing and enjoying our family

Sam, Heidi and Connor in the jacuzzi at my parents place in Spain

I've decided to come back to blogging, I read the news every morning and some stories are ones that I have very strong opinions on, but my comments get lost in the thousands of others that are posted... So you can enjoy my rants here :)

Welcome back to my old followers and welcome to all the new ones that may arrive!